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Planning Board approves permit for downtown bar

 

SARAH LOWERY

Staff Writer

 

The Lincolnton Planning Board backed a request Tuesday afternoon for a conditional-use permit to operate a nightclub in downtown Lincolnton, with a public hearing and vote on the matter now scheduled for the City Council’s May 2 meeting.

Applicant Bryan McClure plans to operate what he described as a “low-key little bar” at the previous site of Flatline Graphics, located at 118 E. Water St.

The establishment, labeled a “private social club,” would require customers to sign in upon entering.

Planning Board member Thomas Hawk abstained from participating in the vote after citing his concerns with the validity of the permit request based on language defining an “adult establishment” within the city’s Unified Development Ordinance, though Zoning Administrator Mark Carpenter said such businesses are handled separately and are not permitted in the city’s Central Business (CB) District anyway.

McClure’s proposed bar would be open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, with Sunday hours yet to be determined.

Some food, adult beverages and mixed drinks would be served at roughly 12 tables, and 18 employees would be hired. Small, live bands would also be featured.

Planning Director Laura Simmons said some conditions would need to be met, such as the potential necessity of a sprinkler system and grease trap, as well as all required inspections and permits.

Additionally, the establishment could have no more than four pool tables, no outdoor storage and must have a screening put up along East Church Street, with other limits in place regarding noise control and outdoor events.

“We’re not here to be a nuisance by any means,” McClure told board members.

McClure, who also owns motorcycle repair shop Iron Station Thunder next to the property in question, said he is hoping to create a “quiet watering hole” that will help attract people downtown and be a boost to other businesses. He plans to eventually grow the food menu over time, and he noted that there will be room for plenty of parking at the back of the facility.

McClure was behind a recent request for a UDO amendment to reduce the separation requirement previously stipulated for social clubs and lounges in downtown, which the Lincolnton City Council approved in a split vote at its last meeting.

The approved amendment specifically decreases the separation requirement for such businesses with nearby churches, schools, public parks or playgrounds and residential property from 300 feet to 50 feet, to be measured from building to building instead of property line to property line.

Additionally, the amendment, as previously recommended by the Planning Board in a 4-3 vote, applies only to the city’s CB District.

Though some City Council members were initially hesitant to proceed with the change, they ultimately voted in favor of the request as individual businesses hoping to take advantage of the new opportunity are still required to apply for a conditional-use permit, to be brought before and voted upon by the council, with any stipulations added in.

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